B: Soft-shell turtle meat is said to boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and promote longevity, among many other benefits.
A: Soft-shell turtle meat is a good source of nutrients, including protein, calcium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and zinc. So how can you say no to a menu of soft-shell turtle dishes?
B: Chef Nguyen Van Hoang is going to tell us about some of his favorite soft-shell turtle dishes.
Chef Hoang: First, you must choose a soft-shell turtle for cooking. Normally a 2.5 to 3 kilo soft-shell turtle is perfect because an older one is tough and a smaller one is not as good to eat. A soft-shell turtle can be made into 3 or 4 dishes.
A: After choosing a good soft-shell turtle, you mush clean it. This step is very important to get rid of the strong smell of soft-shell turtle. I have learned from chef Hoang to first wash the turtle with wine, then stir-fry it with lemongrass and ginger.
Chef Hoang: The first dish I am going to make is soft-shell turtle liver. Soft-shell turtle liver is nutritious and rich in iron. The liver is marinated with salt, pepper, and shallot juice for 20 minutes. After that, the liver is sliced, wrapped in wild betel leaf, and grilled on the charcoal. It is served as the starter.
B: I’ve never tried this dish before. But I have had soft-shell turtle roasted with salt, which is quite popular. Let’s see how this dish is made at Vi Xua restaurant.
Chef Hoang: The soft-shell turtle legs and necks are used to make soft-shell turtle roasted with salt. The meat is marinated with salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, shallot, a little wine and some seasoning. Lemongrass and wild betel leaf are julienned. The meat is mixed with breadcrumbs, and deep-fried. Add lemongrass, wild betel leaf and salt. Fry until it turns golden brown. The meat needs to be crispy outside, but soft inside.
A: The salt used for this dish is not like the salt we normally use. Each chef has a special technique for making their soft-shell turtle tastier and more appealing. Do you have any tips you want to share with us, Hoang?
Chef Hoang: The salt used for this dish is special. The chef has to make it himself. The salt must not be too salty, but must be beautiful and look like snow covering the dish.(Photo: Vi Xua restaurant)
B: Soft-shell turtle roasted with salt is served as a snack. The main dish of the menu is soft-shell turtle cooked with banana and tofu. The main ingredients for this dish, of course, include soft-shell turtle, banana, tofu, pork, shrimp paste, and fermented rice.
Chef Hoang: First, soft-shell turtle meat is stir-fried with banana, tofu and pork. The flavor of the dish is enhanced with shrimp paste and fermented rice. After the meat absorbs the spices, pour in some broth and cook until the meat is soft and you can taste the harmony between the flavors of the shrimp paste and the sourness of the fermented rice. Finally, sprinkle the dish with some fried garlic.
A: Soft-shell turtle cooked with banana and tofu is best served with vermicelli. What is better for this cold weather than a hot pot of soft-shell turtle cooked with banana and tofu? You can try to make it using this very simple recipe suggested by chef Nguyen Van Hoang. Now we must say good bye.